Popping the Domestic Cherry

20 Apr

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Is this Cotswolds town the festival capital of the world? It surely must be now. Cheltenham UK, the festival town. They can have that for free.

Just did one day of Cheltenham Poetry Festival yesterday (it runs until Sunday) and had a great time. I was part of, ahem, select audiences who I got to know (hi to Ki and poets Nick and Alice).

First up: Domestic Cherry in the basement of gothic-looking pub, Tailors. It felt like I was entering the mansion of Elvira Mistress of the Dark (brilliant!). It had the air of a secret gig (i.e. a distinct lack of festival signage).

Poetry to the people poets Mabel (Hilda Sheehan) and Barry (Michael Scott) took time to warm up – or maybe I did. Once they’d got their heads around having an actual audience, they let loose their poetic happening on the good people who’d travelled from Painswick. Mabel was rocking her fifties housewife look; all Sue Ryder shoes, cherry red matching lipstick, glasses and headscarf with cupcake pinny (“Am I really Mabel or just Hilda in a wig?’ she later posits). Barry, in sunglasses and hi-vis jacket, took out his ghastly fake teeth when reading poetry with too many ‘s’s.

Some way into the event I felt like I was sinking into a warm bath or enjoying a good massage from an old friend who doesn’t shy away from working those knots.

What I learned:

  • You can’t become a unicorn by sticking a plunger to your head.
  • In the Trash in the Attic auction, apathy gets a higher bid than Rod Stewart’s Greatest Hits.
  • Venue confusion leads to strangers buying each other coffee (AND biscuits, oh yeah…).
  • Gideon Sundback invented the zip.
  • If you are offered some X Factor Top Trumps, best to get first dibs because everyone wants Jedward (I got them, haha!).
  • Despite this fine challenge by Cheltenham, Swindon is still the Poetry Capital of the World (go on, Google it).

Domestic Cherry are launching their second publication at the Swindon Festival of Literature, where we’re the Official Festival Chronicler. So Official it deserves Title Capitalisation.

PS It’s at this first event I realised I didn’t have my camera. My first proper outing as a Festival Chronicler and I only had my crappy phone camera. Grrr and indeed aaaaaawe! I snaffled Barry’s camera. Hopefully he will be sending me the shots soon. Get the hint, Barry?

2 Responses to “Popping the Domestic Cherry”

  1. Hilda Sheehan 27th Apr 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Bravo! Festival Chronicles…what a piece of exciting reporting…may Rod Stewart watch over you, bless you from the capital of poetry, Swindon Town, a city in the making

  2. Festival Chronicler 1st May 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    Hey Hilda. Thanks! Though I don’t think Rod’s dead yet. Is he? (*Quickly consults Google*) Nope. Just 67.

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